Swift action will help birds’ plight

BUILDERS and homeowners across Boston borough are being urged to consider the plight of one of the country’s feathered friends.

Boston Borough Council has joined forces with the RSPB to highlight the nneds of the swift - which has declined in numbers by up to 20 per cent since 1990. There’s just one Swift now for every 900 humans in the UK.

Swifts travel 14,000 miles from South Africa to return to their nests to breed - but for many, they will find their familiar haunts blocked up.

Steve Lumb, the council’s head of planning and strategy, said: “Many in Britain fail to breed because access to their nest sites is being denied by building and roof repair work.”

The RSPB says modern building methods and improvements to properties are denying swifts access to nesting sites which may have been used for decades.

Swifts nest inside eaves, holes in walls, behind fascia boards, flashings, inside gables, and under roof tiles. All these areas can be made weather proofed and still accommodate the birds.

“We are bringing this to the attention of the public and to those in the development and property industries who could help us all to begin to make a big difference to swift numbers.”

Swifts live on a diet consisting solely of insects – and gobble up vast quantities creepy-crawlies which might otherwise lurk in your house or garden. They spend all their time on the wing, only landing to nest – and even sleep on the wing. In the air swifts can reach a speed of 134mph.

“It could make a real difference if changes, alterations to roofs eaves and fascias are planned with the needs of swifts in mind.” said Mr Lumb.

He added: “We will advise of ways of overcoming the problem without cost or inconvenience to builders or property owners.”

l For more information visit www.swift-conservation.org